Chapter One: Do You Like Your School, Shinji?
Prestigious art school.
Internationally prestigious art school.
Internationally prestigious art school, in Germany.
Shinji's school, The Zweite-Einschlag School of Fine Arts
The boy looked up, attempting to puzzle out the words carved into the marble walls of the main lobby. Even figuring out how to pronounce it would be nice, he thought. It was fitting, an alien language in this new, alien world. He pulled his cello onto his back and repositioned the suitcases under his arms. The campus was beautiful, and apparently very old. For someone who had spent his whole life in Japan, the wide open spaces and practically enormous buildings seemed close to ridiculous. However, Shinji was happy to be here. Thrilled. He worked unbelievably hard for the opportunity to study music here, and by some bizarre, impossible chance his father was allowing it. That alone was enough to put a spring in his step.
"Das Glück suchen wir, das Unglück sucht uns."
Shinji dropped dropped his bags in panic at the sudden voice breaking the silence. He turned to see a smiling, silver-haired boy wearing casual clothes. Shinji's knowledge of German remained minimal, even after a summer of study, so he remained silent.
The boy let out a light chuckle and switched his tongue to an accented English. "'We seek good fortune, misfortune seeks us.' The school's saying. On the wall. You were looking at it, were you not?"
Shinji nodded, nervous around an unknown person. "O-Oh. That seems slightly dark, doesn't it?" The strange boy shrugged, and gestured toward the bundle on Shinji's back.
"This way. Come. Your housing is near mine."
Once more Shinji began to struggle with his bags, when the stranger took notice and lightened his load. Shinji quickly nodded his thanks.
It was crisp and cool outside for early Autumn, but the leaves had not yet begun to turn. Shinji looked around at all the gorgeous oaks and maples; the campus would certainly be a beautiful sight when they did. The little cobblestone path he was walking down with his acquaintance led to a large central fountain, beyond which lay a series of two-story blue-roofed dormitories.
The paled boy turned to Shinji. "The one next to the far right- do you see? It's next to the garden- you'll stay there for the music department."
The stranger glanced back at the clock tower on the main building. "I'm sorry, can you take the bags from here? I have a class soon."
"Oh, it's fine!" Shinji confirmed, just a little to readily. He did not dislike the boy in front of him, but the last thing he wanted in this new, strange place was the company of others. He needed time to himself, to get over the scariness of his new situation. However, he was still worried about making a fool of himself or forgetting something crucial. As the boy began to walk away, Shinji shouted, "Wait, hold up! Is there anything else I should know? Hazing? Things to avoid? Bedbugs?"
The boy paused in thought for a minute. "Between you and me," he murmured, "watch out for the angels."
A chime sounded in the distance. "I'm sorry. I really do have to go now." the boy ran off leaving Shinji to drag his luggage up to his new room.
As he unpacked, he could not help but wonder.
Shinji stood in front of the mahogany door. This was it, he thought, time to face the fire. He hoped he would be alone in his new room. With a click of the knob he opened the door and immediately regretted it when a shrieking mass of green feathers flew at his face, seemingly trying to claw his eyes out. he screamed and ran.
"No!" shouted a voice, "Bad parrot! Very very bad!"
Shinji managed the shield himself from the berserker bird with his cello, although he's really rather not use the 1200 dollar instrument as a weapon. "What the f_ck is this!"
He heard frantic footsteps running down the hall after him and the bird.
"Damnit! I'm so sorry! Cease fire!"
The furious squawking stopped. Shinji slowly lowered his makeshift shield and got a good look at the boy in front of him. He was wearing the seemingly-standard blue and white uniform he's seen on a few other students and held what appeared to be a broadsword in his right hand. He had messy blond hair pulled into a sort ponytail, and appeared to be roughly half a head taller than Shinji. The demon parrot was perched on his left shoulder. Shinji could have sworn it had glowing red demon eyes. "Hi," squeaked Shinji. The parrot glared at him.
The blond boy looked flustered. "Okay. You have absolutely no idea how sorry I am about that. I should totally know better by this point."
There were a few seconds of uncomfortable silence between the two of them as they sized each other up. Shinji's gaze kept drifting back to the rather threatening sword. The boy followed the Shinji's gaze. "Oh... crap. Um. I don't have a sword. It's not there. Really, long story. But You're not looking at a sword." He quickly tossed it behind him, where it landed on the floor with a metallic clang. "Oh dear. That was a loud noise. I wonder what it was? I'm Alois. You have a cello. I have a parrot. Hi."
Shinji began to back away.
"Hey, are you the new boy? You don't have a uniform."
"I-I'm Shinji Ikari."
A grin spread across the boy's face. "Excellent! You're my roommate! Come on, I'll help you with your stuff."
"So," began Alois, forcing his parrot into a cage, "Are you from Korea or something? Your name and accent I mean. I'm from France... everyone at this school knows English, though. Headmaster Langley thought there needed to be a mediator language so everyone could communicate easier."
Shinji nodded "O-okay. And I'm from Japan, actually. Don't confuse them. It's not a good idea, if you ever go there."
"Oops. Sorry. Want some tea?"
Alois walked over towards the tiny kitchen area, giving Shinji a chance to look at their room. The blue and white color scheme matched everything else he could see at the school. There were two beds, and across from them two open glass windows that overlooked a small garden outside. He saw a door leading presumably to a small closet, with a Labyrinth poster on it. Sounding boards hung from the walls to improve the acoustics for practicing, and behind the music stand lay four closed instrument cases and a CD rack. Shinji admitted to the niceness of the room, but wished he didn't have a partially craze roommate. He wondered what department the silver-haired boy from before was in, and figured if he had to be around people then he was the safer option.
Shinji noticed a small statue on the table by the sofa he was sitting on. An angel. He recalled the other boy's cryptic warning and returned to puzzling over it. A phone rang, playing a section from the Tallis cannon. "Bonjour?" he heard Alois answer in the next room over, "Oui. Je me demande pardon. I'll be right there." He rushed back into the main room and pulled on his blazer. "Sorry, Shinji. I have to go help my girlfriend with something."
He nodded. "I'll be a while, I'm afraid. Supper's held in the main dining hall in about an hour- I'll see you there, I think." He ran to the door. "Oh, and would you mind feeding Alistair?"
"Alistair?" The demon parrot cried out, and Shinji froze in a brief moment of fear. "I... I will try."
"Thanks!" The door slammed behind him.
Shinji's uneasiness in regards to his new roommate remained as he unpacked.
Although part of it may have come from being watched by a demon parrot.
Shinji attempted to ignore the feathered fiend staring him down from the corner of the main room. He wished his bizarre roommate could have had a cute penguin or something instead. Without knowing anyone, let alone his way around campus, Shinji was left with nothing to do but practice his cello and puzzle over the 'angels.' He hadn't yet been given any music to learn, so he decided to stick with his favorite piece; the one he used for his audition to get accepted into the Zweite-Einschlag School. Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 was the first piec he was ever truly proud of learning to play, even though the accomplishment didn't give him the result he wanted.
Shinji's memory was hazy as to the exact time, but he must have been somewhere around six or seven years old when his father made one of his rare visits to his son. The one night he was there, Shinji's father took him to a concert, likely because it was a possible 'social event' that would not involve either actually speaking to the other.
Despite having started playing the cello about a year previously, although he was hailed as somewhat of a prodigy, the young Shinji soon grew bored, and his father seemed just as disinterested. However, the piece before the intermission caught his interest. Shinji was dazzled by the woman playing the cello; her perfect position and obvious passion shone obviously, and the noted that came from her instrument were nothing short of miraculous. His father showed no reaction, but at the end of the song, when the audience began to chatter and leave their seats for the fancy hors d'oeuvres in the lobby, he finally spoke.
"I liked that piece."
It was the only thing Shinji's father said to him in years.
A knock on the door shook Shinji from his musical reverie. He looked, up vaguely startled.
He heard the knock again, three times in quick succession. "Is Mr. Ikari here?" called a woman's voice. Shinji really did not want to answer. "I have a package for Mr. Ikari." Shinji shifted uncomfortably and moved to get the door, laying his cello on its side with extreme care.
"Yes?" he muttered to the women in the hallway. She was young and round-faced, with short, boyish brown hair and dark eyes.
"A delivery from Dr. Akagi, the department head," she informed him, smiling and pushing a rectangular box into his hands. "Your books and uniform, I believe."
"T-thank you, ma'am." he shut the door softly, and got some scissors to cut open the box with.
The uniform matched that of Alois and some of the other students, so at least he wouldn't stand out to such an extent anymore.
He put on the new clothes and studied himself in the mirror. This new uniform looked so very western to him, and would have looked old fashioned to almost anyone. He wore white dress pants with a long-sleeved white shirt. Over that went a light blue blazer with stripes of white trimming, and a sort of modernized short white cravat around the collar. The new clothes felt a little stiff, and very alien.
Bells began to chime in the clock tower.
"Oh! Dinner!" Shinji attempted to smooth down his hair for a few seconds before rushing off the the dining hall in the main part of the campus.
The moment he stepped into the building, Shinji was blinded by a flash of white light. He yelped in surprise, jumped back, and promptly tripped on a stone lying just outside the door. He heard her mad laughter and felt her foot on his chest pinning him down, before he could see his assailant. He could almost make out the outline of a figure when he heard a click and was blinded again.
"Asuka!" someone yelled, "Leave the new kid alone!" At least whoever it was stepped off of him.
Shinji heard more mad laughter from above, and blinked a few times to clear his vision. When he could finally see, what he saw was an almost comically large camera lens in front of his face. He slowly began to raise himself, grumbling.
"Hey!" shouted the girl's voice above him, "Stay down and let me get one more shot!" he was kicked to the ground, once more being stood one and rendered unable to see. "There!"
Shinji blearily opened his eyes for what he hoped to be the final time, and saw that he had an excellent view up the skirt of a redhead. "Panties... ARGH!" he murmured, and then yelled as he was kicked in the head.
"Come on, Asuka! Give it up."
The redhead growled. "But he must pay! Oh... must he pay..."
Shinji tried to defend himself. "Well, it was your fault."
"Don't you start!" she shouted. She then stormed off back into the dining hall and began furiously chewing her beans. It takes a special talent to make the act of eating beans seem angry and threatening. She had it.
Someone reached out a hand to Shinji, which he gratefully accepted, and pulled him up. "Well," began the man, "I see you've met the 'princess' of Zweite-Einschlag."
Shinji studied the older man, who he assumed was a teacher. The stubble on his chin and long dark ponytail made him look more rugged or athletic than artistic, though. "The... princess?" Shinji groaned. "Please tell me that's a sarcastic title."
The man laughed. "Well... yes an no. Now don't get me wrong; her personality sure isn't a beauty, but she is the headmaster's daughter."
The man playfully elbowed Shinji in the ribs. "And besides, if I was closer to your age, I'd be ready to tap looks like that."
Shinji felt a very red blush form on his cheeks.
"I'm Mr. Ryogi, Dean of Student Life. Feel free so come to my office if you have any questions." He winked at Shinji and walked towards the now completely dark outer area of the campus, where the faculty offices lay. Shinji turned to the open doorway, hoping to finally get some food, when he heard the Dean's voice call back to him.
"Keep on the lookout for angels, kid!"